A/N: Wow! It's been a while since I've posted a Han/Leia fic, but really, I think they are my absolute favorite couple in the world, and I have a LOT of beloved couples, so I signed up for a fic writing challenge on live journal, and chose the princess and the pirate as my couple, because I've neglected my babies so bad. So anyway, you guys have given amazing feedback on all my other H/L fics, so I hope you'll do the same this time! Reader reactions are really the main reason I do all this! I love to hear from you!
As Chewbacca strolled down the narrow hallway of the Millennium Falcon toward his cabin, he could not resist pausing at the captain's door momentarily. From the confines of the room, he could hear Han Solo and Leia Organa getting ready for bed. He was fully aware that eavesdropping was wrong, but it didn't stop him from pressing his ear against the door and grinning at the sounds that came from within. Leia's teasing voice rang out with a mischievousness that she was free to use now that she had slightly less to worry about, with the Empire destroyed and the beginnings of peace beginning to show.
"It really was all your fault you know," she said, laughing.
"Well, Your Worship, unfortunately I can't do everything perfectly…," Han replied, and Chewie knew Leia was just as surprised as he was that Han Solo was actually making a modest statement. A few seconds later though, he reassured them that he hadn't changed completely, grinning and finishing his thought. "Just almost everything. Ninety nine percent."
Chewie couldn't see through walls, but there was no doubt in his mind that the princess was rolling her eyes dramatically in response to Han's ceaseless cockiness.
"Well, the galaxy might be changing in a thousand different ways, but I think it's safe to say that we can always count on you to be as overly confident as ever. Oh, and Nerf Herder," she said. "I thought we agreed that you'd stop calling me Your Worship."
"Hey, Your Highnessness," Han mimicked, taking on a high pitched voice that sounded nothing like her. "I though we agreed you'd stop calling me Nerf Herder."
"Oh, shut up," Leia laughed.
"Make me," Han growled roguishly.
"Oh, I'll make you," Leia threatened confidently, and Chewie listened to the pattering of footsteps across the cabin. He had to suppress a laugh, for when contact was made, it was not the threatened Han, but the threatening Leia who made the first sound.
"Ahh! Han," she squealed desperately. "Stop it!" He heard her small fists pounding against a bare chest, but they evoked no response other than Han's boisterous laughter.
"What's this," he asked, once he had finished chuckling. "Her highness," squeal.
"Wouldn't happen," squeal. "To be," squeal. "Ticklish, would she?"
"Han, I swear! Poke me again and I'll-" her furious warning was cut off by another squeal. The Wookiee laugh that escaped from Chewie's lips was fortunately overpowered by the force of Han's yell,
"OUCH! Leia! Did you…did you just bite me?" Han stuttered, sounding both entertained and incredulous.
"Well…you…you…you deserved it!" Leia burst out, embarrassed.
"Well, well, well," Han scolded, voice ringing with amusement. "This behavior is most unbecoming of royalty. I think perhaps I ought to inform Mon Mothma and company of this most unrefined behavior. Really, I'm just appalled."
"You wouldn't dare," Leia laughed.
"Oh, I wouldn't? I don't know, princess, I have the teeth marks to prove it and everything."
Leia scoffed. "I didn't leave any teeth marks, you big dope."
"Like hell you didn't!" Han cried. "Look at this!"
"I'm sorry," she gasped, chuckling nervously. "I didn't mean to do it so…hard."
"Yeah, well you did," he said angrily, before falling silent. His silence lasted much longer than necessary, and Chewie's jaw dropped slightly, not understanding how Han could possibly be mad over some playful fooling around.
"Han?" Leia asked softly, clearly as confused and worried as Chewie was getting. The stony silence last for a bit longer, but finally, Chewie practically heard Han break into that impish grin of his.
"Come here you," he growled, and he heard Leia thud softly onto the bed beside him, giggling.
"That really wasn't nice, you know," she said, trying to sound stern and reprimanding.
"It's not my fault you're so easy. I really had you going there, didn't I?"
"Well, yeah…I thought you might have actually been, you know, mad. I'm still new at this sort of th-"
Leia was cut off, and they fell silent. Chewie grinned, knowing well that the silence had nothing to do with another mind game. They had simply found a better use for their mouths than talking. Chewie took that as his cue, to leave, positive the muffled noises would soon enough turn into ones he had no business hearing.
Besides, he had heard all he needed to hear. The princess and the smuggler. Together. Happy. So many times he had feared that their independence and arrogance would keep a night like this from ever happening. They'd struggled against what was bound to happen from day one, with such strong resolve that Chewie had been afraid they might never get here. By some streak of luck, over the years they'd let down their barriers just enough, ever so slowly, that they were able to reach this point. A point where they no longer had to be lonely or guarded or stubborn. Where they could just…be.
Chewie smiled as he entered his quarters, feeling an overwhelming surge of joy for the pair of them. Han Solo, although he would always remain a bit of a scoundrel, was finally in a long term relationship, and instead of displaying a terrified and desperate desire to get out, to fire up the engines and get to the other side of the galaxy, he seemed to become more and more content with each day that passed. He was completely and utterly happy.
If you had asked Han and Chewie a week before they agreed to take the old Jedi and the naïve young farm boy to Alderaan, whether it could ever be possible for the rougish captain to fall for a human being so hard that he could completely change his lifestyle, opinions and priorities because of her, Chewie would have let out a big, long Wookiee laugh and Han would have probably shot off your foot with his blaster.
But if you asked them the exact same question a week after the destruction of the death star, while Han's response would have remained much the same, Chewie would have bet every credit he owned to say yes, Han could without a doubt fall, and fall hard. Because he already had. He just didn't know it yet.
Someone who didn't really know Han would think Chewie was taking an awfully big risk with so little evidence. But Chewie had been with Han for a long time and he'd seen Han around more women than any man rightfully should be around. His cool confidence managed to draw in plenty of women for a quick night of passion. In all that time, however, he had never seen him react to a woman the way he did to the bossy, young princess. Ever.
Chewie could see as clear as anything that this short, demanding woman who seemed immune to the pirate's charms had both gotten under his skin and into his heart simultaneously on that very first day. She might have infuriated him and insulted him beyond belief, but somehow it seemed to be a welcomed relief to a drunken, giggling one-night stand hanging off of his arm on the way to the Falcon, which seemed to be the extent of Han's experience with the fairer sex.
He could also tell, though with far less certainty, that this princess was used to being treated as just that, royalty. Han's total disregard for her title was something she had probably never experienced. Indeed, as time went on, it became clear that she enjoyed the way he treated her like any other human being, expecting her to pull her own weight while aboard his ship and unabashedly informing her of it when she did something wrong. To each, getting knowing the other was something new, albeit rocky, and their uncertainty of how to deal with it resulted in severe clashing from the start.
To the untrained observer, their relationship was nothing but clashing as time went on. A mighty struggle between two beings of equally strong wills. As days tuned into weeks, and weeks into months Han and Leia's relationship seemed to be an endless array of shouting matches and insult tossing. Most of the occupants of the rebel bases were amused by their spats, many owing their sanity to the drama the pair brought to the often dreary life. From day to day, it seemed as though no changes were made in their relationship, except that the arguments got worse as they became more comfortable with each other, began to push whatever limits they'd started off with and became far less concerned with politeness (not that Han had ever really felt manners were a high priority.)
Chewie, however, was a highly experienced observer, and he managed to pick up on more than just anger between them. He would never deny the fact that during their arguments Han looked more than ready to kill, but since he had the privelege of sharing a ship with the man, he got to witness his behavior after such an encounter with Leia. Whether he stormed through the corridors of the ship in showy, transparently over-the-top anger or hummed cheerfully as he rustled up dinner for himself, or even (poorly) feigned indifference, his moods were always better on the days where he talked to Leia. He got that look in his eyes, and Chewie knew.
In the evenings after dinner, he would catch Han grining or chuckling to himself for seemingly no reason, but there was never any doubt in Chewie's mind what the cause was. He knew Han was thinking about a time during the day when he had thrown one of his rude sexual innuendos at Leia, and how indignant her response has been. Without fail she predictably rose to his baiting every time, and every time she looked disgusted or rolled her eyes, Han's face would shine with glee, like a child in a candy shop.
The girl lit something up inside him and even if Han tried to tell himself it a casual way to pass the time, Chewie knew he couldn't ignore the new, strange feelings she was igniting him with forever. He watched her with such intensity sometimes, whether voluntarily, or subconsciously while she stood in the hanger bay, discussing the issue of the day with an officer or briefing some troops. She was making him feel things he had never felt before, and because he didn't know what love was before her, it was all too easy for him to fight it, to struggle with it, to battle those feelings, to ignore them, to lock them away. At least for a while.
Leia quickly became an open book as well. Despite all of her claims of disgust and annoyance with Han's mannerisms she always seened to find a reason to approach him, usually for things that could have just as easily have been passed on to him through someone else. Sometimes she even came for things that didn't need to be said at all. She would approach him almost daily, to inform him of a mission, to remind him of a meeting he was supposed to attend, or to let him know in her (im)polite and (un)diplomatic manner that he was doing something wrong.
She was obviously too distracted each time to remember Chewie's presence, for he was sure if she knew he was watching she would have done better to hide her actions. Fortunately for him, she was usually a wreck of nerves as she tried to approach the smuggler, and spying obsessed Wookiees were not at the front of her thoughts. Han's back was always turned as he worked on some part of the Falcon that was giving him trouble, which gave her time to pause and think about what to say. She would always take ages to reach him, looking frazzled and hesitant as she took a few steps toward him. Then she would stop, shake her head and seem to conclude that her excuse for seeking him out wasn't quite valid enough to bother him with, and would turn back. She'd be nearly out the door by the time she turned around and marched back to talk to him again.
By the time Han looked up from his work to notice her, she would always manage to get back her composure. He would greet her with one of his frustrating title-related nicknames, and her nervousness would be replaced by a biting response and an icy glare. Although her behavior obviously showed that she was more than a little infatuated with the gruff but charming captain, and she was one of the most intelligent people Chewie had ever met, he was quite sure she was completely unaware of her feelings for Han. Either unaware, or in active and utter denial.
The pair also provided a great amount of amusement to Chewie during tedious rebellion meetings. In an endless game of ping pong, their eyes would find each other. Han and Leia were usually situated across from each other, and when Chewie would glance at the smuggler at his side, Han's gaze was always upon Leia. That is, until she looked up from the piece of paper she was scribbling notes on. Chewie had to use all his strength to restrain laughter when he'd see the captain's head snap down toward the table faster than light speed, his breathing increased ever so slightly with the fear of getting caught.
Then from her place beside Mon Mothma and General Reikian, the princess would look up from her notes and study Han's bowed head, shyly watching him, her thoughts a mystery, until he figured it was safe to look up. At this point, Leia would gasp and look down, equally afraid of being caught staring, and undoubtedly being mercilessly teased by the over-confident man. Then it was, once again Chewie's friend's turn to stare at her, fixated. It would go on for hours, each one looking down and sighing in relief at not being caught, not having to face the possibility of coming to terms with their emotions. The neverending cycle, while quite cute, made Chewie want to grab them both and lock them in a room together until they admitted they were completely mad about each other.
Chewie spent many a frustrated night wondering whether he should intervene. Aside from a few hints he threw Han's way, hints that infuriated Han to the point of not talking to Chewie for days on end, he hadn't really done much. Chewie made Han aware that he could tell he felt strongly for her, but he didn't feel right expressing the extent of her feelings for him, of mentioning her nervous attempts to approach him, nor had he ever tried to let Leia know that Han liked her as more than just a tease subject. He knew it would only really mean something if they confessed on their own. But of course, they insisted on the struggle.
There were moments, brief moments scattered throughout all that time that would keep Chewie encouraged. He always had hope that they'd be at the amazing place they were now, because even amidst all the yelling, name calling and denying, there were raw, true moments when they were actually happy, civil. It was never when they had a crowd, almost as if they were only keeping up the act for everyone else. When they were in public, the claws were almost always out.
But fate had ways of making sure two people that perfect for each other found ways to realize it. There were evenings when Leia would come into the Falcon to tell Han something and his lazy demenor would perk up ever so slightly, not obviously enough for Leia to notice, but enough for Chewie to have another head-shake moment. The princess would announce that Han couldn't go on a supply run because they were trying to lie low, or something along those lines and at first there would be a bit of tension. Han might snidely reply that he was indeed able to read the message boards, to which Leia would make a remark on his responsibility or lack thereof. Just as things would start heading down a rocky road and Chewie would prepare to slam his head against the table though, Han would get a second of maturity and casually invite her to stay for dinner.
Chewie didn't know how Han took so long to catch on to her feelings, for her frostiness would melt so quickly after he asked that it was painfully obvious. Of course, they still guarded themselves fervently, Han constantly saying that it was only because he'd cooked more than he actually needed by mistake, and Leia wasting a good deal of time saying that she really should be getting back to work. Only once they made their show of making it clear that neither one really "wanted" to be there, together, did it became apparent that there was no where else they'd rather be.
Tentatively, they would engage in conversation as they ate, and with no one to put on a show of disgust for, they would get to really know each other. Leia would reminisce about her childhood on Alderaan, about her friends and family and adventures, and Han would listen with genuine interest, asking questions and laughing, with only the occasional sarcastic comment thrown in to remind them that he was a still a scoundrel.
Han preferred not to talk about his childhood, and after a few attempts to get him talking about it that were rebuked immediately, Leia seemed to catch on and stopped asking, though the look of concern and curiosity never left her deep brown eyes. Han had absolutely no aversion to talking about the rest of his experiences, and Chewie enjoyed watching Leia struggle with shock, outrage, disapproval and amusement as he told wild stories about narrow escapes and shady cantinas.
Chewie loved bearing witness to those infrequent but pleasant dinners. They usually had weeks of fighting and staring from afar between them, but when they put aside their will to keep up appearances, they really had fun. Han even taught her how to play Sabaac, and she enjoyed it, even though she continually reminded him that gambling was a sure way to ruin one's life.
It pained Chewie to think that had they not been attacked by the Empire that day on Hoth, Han and Leia might really have left each other, never even giving the flame between them a chance to become something more. He had been half planning disabling some key part of the ship if Leia didn't come running to stop him seconds before take off, or if Han didn't seek her out before leaving to pay off Jabba, and ordering Han to go tell her. He would have even told him about all the nervous approaches and stares at meetings if it had come to that. But things have a way of working themselves out, and of course, they did. He didn't have to stick them in a room together, because, as it worked out, they were stuck on a ship together, for quite a long time. Long enough to stop acting like children and accept the amazing thing that had grown between them.
While Chewie had been contemplating the progression of his dear friends' struggle with love, he'd made his way to the Falcon's kitchen for a late night snack. Just as his thoughts had neared the end, up 'til now, of their story, he heard soft footsteps approaching. Then Han's voice rang out, with an over dramatic desperation.
"Leeeeeeiaaaaaaa! Where are you goooing? Don't leeeeeeave me. Why would you leave me? I'm all aloneeeee! Leiaaaa!"
Leia chuckled to herself as she entered the kitchen, wearing a large man's shirt, before calling out, "Quiet down, Scruffy, I'm just getting some water! You'd think I just packed up a suitcase, you big baby. You're the one who got me all hot and thi- oh! Hey, Chewie!" she flushed. He grinned and greeted her from his seat at the counter. As she stood at the sink, running the water until it got cold, he heard other footsteps approach stealthily. He looked up to see Han creeping into the kitchen, a finger pressed against his lips. Chewie gave him a look that said, "your funeral," and kept his silence.
He watched Han creep up behind Leia, who was standing at the sink with a serene smile on her face, back turned to him. She was just bringing the full glass to her lips, when Han, grinning evilly, grabbed her from behind in a bear hug, shouting "YOU LEFT ME!"
It had the desired effect. Startled out of her peaceful state, Leia shrieked and jumped, sloshing some water down her front. She turned and glared as Han's booming laughter resounded throughout the small space. He was bent over, slapping his knee as he guffawed childishly. In some ways, Chewie guessed, he would always remain immature.
When, at long last, Han looked up, his expression was so smug, that Leia simply gave him a look of utmost disgust, before throwing the mostly-full glass of water into his face. While Chewie had been too afraid to show any amusement when Han got Leia, he had absolutely no qualms about mocking his captain. He roared with laughter along with the princess as Han sputtered in shock.
Once he had recovered, he narrowed his eyebrows, grinned and said, "Listen, kid, you might be royalty and the voice of the new republic and all that, but if you think for one second you're gonna do that to me, on my ship, you've got another thing coming! You're short, so I'll give you a three second head start. Starting now. I suggest you run."
Chewie chuckled as they chased each other through the halls of the Falcon, picking up a mop and heading over to wipe up the mess. The struggling that was heard throughout the ship now, mixed with playful shouts and laughter, was a far different one than the stubborn battle they'd struggled through to get to this point, and Chewie was almost embarrassed by how much he felt like a doting mother who had just married off a child. But how could he not feel such a surge of pride when he could compare the selfish, rude smuggler of three years ago to this happy, committed general who now had a life, a cause, and a love, when he knew Han would get here, somehow, some way, on that first day where he'd been called a walking carpet?
Everytime you don't review a fic an Ewok dies. (for those who hate Ewoks…just review please and I will be eternally grateful…)